Who voted “nay” the most in the 2017 Legislature?

The House had its lowest failure rate in half a decade.

As I posted earlier, the Utah Legislature is almost a bipartisan lovefest. Legislators just don’t like voting “nay.” In general, if something gets to the floor, it’s going to pass. In 2017, only 2% of Utah House floor votes had a negative outcome. It was even lower in the Utah Senate: 1%. Though the Senate has been at 1% for years, the House had its lowest failure rate in half a decade. Here’s the trend:

Failure rates, 2007-2017

Of course, some legislators vote “nay” more than others. Surprising nobody, Speaker Greg Hughes and President Wayne Niederhauser seldom vote nay; after all, if they don’t like a bill, they can just kill it. More generally, legislative leaders often have very agreeable voting records. And surprising nobody, Democrats often vote nay more than Republicans. That’s to be expected when they’re in the minority. Where it gets fun is looking at the Republicans with high “nay” rates.

The lowest “nay” rates in the House: Representatives Hughes (1%), Noel (3%), Wilson (3%), Christensen (3%), and Handy (3%). The highest “nay” rates: Representatives Kwan (14%), Briscoe (14%), Hollins (15%), Chavez-Houck (15%), and Romero (16%). Among Republicans, the highest “nay” rates were Representatives Greene (12%), Roberts (13%), and McCay (13%). In years past, Rep. McCay voted “nay” more than anybody in the chamber, including the Democrats; this is the second year in a row where he’s fallen behind at least a few Democrats.

The lowest “nay” rates in the Senate: Senators Jerry Stevenson (0%), Hemmert (1%), Buxton (1%), Niederhauser (1%), and Okerlund (1%). The highest (and this time there are Republicans in the top 5): Senators Hinkins (5%), Iwamoto (5%), Escamilla (6%), Dayton (7%), and Dabakis (9%). (Senators Hinkins and Dayton are the Republicans.)

You can find “nay” rates for any legislator here.

Next up: How Representative Watkins’s change from Democrat to Republican changed her voting record. (Hint: It’s even more fascinating than you’re probably guessing.)

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About Adam Brown

Adam Brown is an assistant professor of political science at Brigham Young University and a research fellow with the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. You can learn more about him at his website.
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